LAS VEGAS — You might beat Terence Crawford for a few rounds. You might rattle his cage and disrupt his rhythm. But sooner or later, the champion is going to catch you. And when he smells blood, look out.
It happened again Saturday night in the first minute of Round 10, when Crawford knocked down Shawn Porter twice in 60 seconds, first with a left uppercut to the chin then a right hook to the left eye. Kenny Porter, Shawn’s father and trainer, climbed the apron and stopped the fight.
No opponent had stopped Porter before the final bell.
Crawford’s technical knockout at 11:15 p.m. in Omaha extended his flawless record and recorded his 38th straight win as a professional — and first since November 2020. The 34-year-old showed no rust, defending his WBO welterweight belt and stating his claim (again) as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
“His dad did the right thing by stopping it because I was coming with a vengeance,” Crawford said afterward from the ring.
Said Porter: “He’s a dynamite dude.”
Porter has fought almost every great welterweight of his era. Crawford, he said, is the best. “That man hit me more than anybody I’ve been in the ring with.”
Crawford prompted Porter to make a comical callback to Jerry Maguire. “The quan,” Porter said. The whole package.
Crawford, in white trunks with black trim, started slow, as he typically does. Porter’s best chance was to get inside and make it ugly — a brawl.
As the fight heated up in Round 3, Crawford and Porter crashed heads, opening a cut above Porter’s right eye. By Round 4, Crawford danced and showboated with confidence, picking Porter apart. When he did get hit, he laughed it off.
But in the fifth, Crawford folded up during a Porter barrage of mostly empty punches, refusing to trade blows until the final 10 seconds when he blasted Porter to the body.
Crawford started the sixth with a flurry after trainer Brian McIntyre told him to box, not brawl. Crawford took a head butt, opening his own cut. In the seventh, Porter delivered a big shot that knocked Crawford into the ropes.
The fight changed for good in Round 8, when Crawford pounded Porter early, showcasing his immense skill. He delivered a vintage combination, perhaps his best of the fight.
Crawford continued pounding Porter with vicious left hooks to the body, including a couple late in Round 9.
Porter finally crashed in Round 10, a victim of Crawford’s spectacular precision. When Porter rose clumsily from the mat the second time, his father was already waving at the referee. Crawford stomped in jubilation, but didn’t celebrate like normal. Instead, he approached and embraced Porter, his old friend. Then Kenny Porter embraced Crawford, too.
Crawford’s Top Rank Boxing team has struggled to find him elite competition the past few years, even after he moved to welterweight. The WBO mandated the Porter challenge, though it crossed promotional boundaries — Porter aligns with Premier Boxing Champions.
The challenger entered the bout with strong credibility as a scrappy brawler fearful of no one. In 2019, Porter nearly upset Errol Spence Jr., losing a split decision.
Crawford and Porter go back to their amateur days.
Neither wanted this fight, but critics agreed that their styles made a great showcase. Porter respected the champ, but he also knew Crawford’s techniques and mindset. He knew Crawford’s “short fuse” and planned to fluster him mentally, he said.
It worked for a while. Porter challenged him with “slick moves,” Crawford said. He made Crawford think. But Crawford recognized early that Porter needed to “take chances” to land punches.
Crawford has spent most of the past year talking about opponents he wasn’t fighting, most notably Manny Pacquiao and Spence. Spence actually attended Saturday’s fight, blending in with the Mandalay Bay crowd. Spence saw the knockout, turned and walked out.
Crawford didn’t know Spence was there until afterward.
“He was at my fight?” Crawford said. “You see what I did (to Porter) compared to what he did. ... Who's No. 1 in the welterweight division now?!”